Thursday, September 07, 2006

some features of maausk

* It is Souls' time in November. An old custom of our people is to ask ancestors' souls to come to dinner with us. It is not very common nowadays, but some of our people practice it.

It is also traditional to visit the graveyard at this time. If you go to an Estonian graveyard during souls' time, you can see lots and lots of candles burning everywhere. This is how contemporary people celebrate an ancient custom.

* Another custom very common to our people is sauna. Maybe you have heard of it. The Finnish people have sauna, too. Traditionally it is smoke sauna, a separate building. Traditionally sauna was a sacred place. There are lots of customs and taboos connected with it. One cannot swear in sauna or split... etc. Sauna is used for healing. And of course it is a washing place. The traditional sauna day is Saturday and if a family has their own sauna, they usually heat it every week.

Also when there is a holiday coming, like Christmas (jõulud), spring holiday / easter (munapüha) etc, it is necessary to go to sauna before the holiday arrives - to clean up your body and soul.

* On June 23th there are lots of bonfires all over Estonia. People celebrate St-John's Eve (jaanipäev) - a holiday with a Christian name but ancient customs. To us, it is a family holiday...

* The sacred places of our people. You can read about them on the webpage of Maavalla Koda. The sacred groves, stones, springs - many of them are forgotten, but many are used nowadays. Currently it is a big problem in Estonia that those places, part of our culture and history, are not protected by the laws. So it happens that a businessman or someone wants to build a house, hotel or ski centre on a sacred spot and we have to use every possibility to stop such behaviour. One of such hotspots is Palukyla hiiemägi.

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